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(Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek)

I did not grow up in a house where classical music was listened to. I came to that music on my own. My first exposure was to more modern composers like Ravel, Bartok, and Stravinsky.

I then sort of worked myself backward in time. Along the way I discovered Chopin.

Chopin resonated with me because he primarily wrote for his instrument in solo settings (piano) and he was Polish (as am I).

One of Chopin’s etudes is also called “Winter Wind” and I took that concept and applied it to this short piece for solo guitar. 

Everyone acquaints December with the start of winter which, in Minnesota, can be long and brutal. 

By contrast this music is neither long or brutal.


Through Rose Colored Glasses

“Through Rose Colored Glasses”
(Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2015 copyright)

For the past several years I have been attempting to expand my solo guitar repertoire. One of the things I wrote for this endeavor was this song “Through Rose Colored Glasses.”

The main line of the piece is slightly reminiscent of Chopin’s riff from his “Barcarolle.”

I also wanted to try and survey all 12 major keys within the piece and still maintain a flowing melody and continuity of line.

In other words, though I had a technical goal in mind I did not want the music to suffer from this goal.

The listener should never be mindful of such efforts and these attempts should never detract from the lyrical aspect of the piece.

Link to video of song:

Silesian Mist

“Silesian Mist” (Composed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2018 copyright) Guitar and mandolin – reynold, Acoustic bass – Matt Senjem, Percussion- Michael Bissonnette

My family’s roots are in Eastern Europe. My paternal origins are in Opole (Poland) in Upper Silesia. I tried to honor this heritage with this piece of music. The main theme is in 11/4 and serves as a sort of recurring mantra. The melody and improv are set on very modal changes (E minor to A minor).

The song is fun to play live and it is recorded here with my usual trio.

Etude in E Major

“Etude in E Major”
(composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2012 copyright)

Vladimir Horowitz once said that it is not always the finger-twisting fireworks pieces that wow an audience that are difficult to perform and control but often it is the more concentrated things like a “Mozart Adagio.”

I have heard similar anecdotes from other virtuoso performers. A few years ago I began building my solo acoustic guitar repertoire with the eventual goal of filming a solo guitar recital for YouTube.

I still intend to fulfill this ambition some day but did do something similar for the added features on the A Life Well Played DVD extra feature.
In that case, the director (Rene Erickson), rented an old mansion in the Twin Cities area and we spent a day filming several solo guitar pieces.

At any rate, “Etude in E Major” is one of about 30 pieces I have diligently worked on the past few years. A piece like this is especially difficult, in my opinion, for a plectrum guitarist like myself.

Keeping the piece in flow and with continuity of line is an exercise in concentration and, remember, it must also have a lyrical and musical quality.